Thursday, September 10, 2015

Census Expands Small Business Access to Data

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Census Bureau is the premiere source of data about America’s economy and businesses, and we’re committed to making our data more accessible than ever before. I’m pleased to introduce our latest tool in that effort: Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition.

Every day, businesses large and small use Census Bureau data to make important decisions. Large companies have sophisticated research staff to do this work for them, but small business owners are often left to their own devices. We’ve talked to many entrepreneurs across the country, and a common request is for more Census Bureau data in an easier-to-use format. We listened, and in response, we developed Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition to provide them with easier access to more data.

Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition combines economic and demographic data in meaningful ways that are useful to the small business owner. Uniquely, Census Business Builder also uses third party data on consumer spending. While not produced by Census, we believe that the addition of this data will help deliver the information that’s most useful for small business owners’ needs. The result is an innovative data tool that will help small business entrepreneurs determine the best type and location for their small business.

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Small Business, Big Threat: Protecting Small Businesses from Cyber Attacks

WASHINGTON—Cybersecurity experts, small business, and financial institution leaders addressed the growing threat of cyber-crimes against American small businesses at today’s hearing entitled, “Small Business, Big Threat: Protecting Small Businesses from Cyber Attacks.”

 “The American government, American businesses, and Americans themselves are attacked over the Internet on a daily basis,” Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) said in his opening statement. “Sometimes they know, sometimes they don’t. These attacks come from criminal syndicates, “hacktivists,” and foreign nations. They’re after intellectual property, bank accounts, Social Security numbers, and anything else that can be used for financial gain or a competitive edge. But the majority of cyber-attacks happen at small businesses.  In fact, 71 percent of cyber-attacks occur at businesses with fewer than 100 employees.”

Among those who testified at the hearing was Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for Intel Security Group, saying, “Over the past decade, the attacker type has evolved from recreational “hackers” with limited capabilities to organized crime and state sponsored actors employing extensive resources and highly skilled personnel.”

The Committee also heard from Todd McCracken, President of the National Small Business Association, who discussed the fact that small companies currently have fewer resources to address cyber attacks. “Many small companies are not in a position to have a dedicated IT department, and many either outsource IT functions or assign such duties to an employee with other responsibilities—often the owner him/herself. In fact, the number of business owners who personally handle IT support appears to be on the rise,” McCracken said.

Dan Berger, President and CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, who also testified said, “Data security breaches are more than just an inconvenience to consumers as they wait for their plastic cards to be reissued,” Berger said. “Breaches often result in compromised card information leading to fraud losses, unnecessarily damaged credit ratings, and even identity theft.”

“This isn’t the Internet of 1995, when most Americans simply got online to check e-mail,” Chabot said. “This technology – and our behavior with it – is the underpinning of our modern economy and the foundation for our future. This is why we must address cybersecurity now, so that as a country and as a leader in the global marketplace, we can operate without fear of attack.”

Chairman Chabot shared concern for the negative impacts of mounting cybersecurity pressures against the small business landscape and expressed the need to proactively combat these issues moving forward.

Originally published April 22, 2015 on - See more at: